Last updated: October 26, 2021
British Empire in Alaska
Constructed in 1840, Fort Durham (Fort Taku) was one of three posts established in Russian America by the British Hudson's Bay Company. Fort Durham Site National Historic Landmark represents the British role in the great struggle between major maritime powers, England, the United States, and the Russian Empire. Each raced for control of the North Pacific fur trade.
Built under the provisions of a lease negotiated between the Russian American Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company, it gave the British firm control of a ten mile wide strip of Russian Alaska. The stockade post served as a trading post for Hudson’s Bay Company until 1843, when the fort was abandoned in favor of yearly visits by a company ship.
The remains of Fort Durham are no longer visible, but archaeological investigations have encountered remnants of the fort walls and interior buildings.
A History of Fort Durham, Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post Located in Taku Harbor, 1840-1843, Within the Boundaries of Present Day Juneau, Alaska. By Wallace M. Olson, Heritage Research, 1994.
Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843. By Richard Mackie, UBC Press, 1997